By Zari Averbeck and Jennifer Fischer
We started our day packing everything back into our two cars because as soon as we were done with the day, we were heading home. We said our good-byes to the friendly pups that were at the resort and were off to Pine Ridge Headstart. Once in Pine Ridge, we made our last stop at Higher Ground Coffee Shop. Everyone either had coffees or smoothies, which was a beautiful start to an amazing day. We were fortunate to help at Pine Ridge Headstart by providing physicals to the children. As Viterbo nursing students, we were able to help with this process and make it go much quicker than in previous years. We were told that this year at Pine Ridge Headstart, we did about 65 physicals, which was the most ever! We are so proud to be able to be a part of that.
From Pine Ridge Head Start we went to Pizza Hut and ate two large pizzas in under 30 minutes. Those kiddos had us work up a major appetite. Then we drove out to the Singing Horse Trading Post where we bought bracelets, pictures and were all gifted with beautiful dream catchers. Even while we were shopping, our roles as nurses never stopped. One of the employees there asked if we were doing blood pressures and if someone would check hers. It turns out that the last time she had checked her blood pressure was a couple years ago, and it was high then. She was very grateful that we could check it for her because it had been so long since her last check.
After this, we went to Porcupine Headstart where we set up to teach teachers and community members about CPR, what to do if an infant/ adult is choking, and first aid/poisoning. There were a few parents who came in and wanted to learn. Many of the parents who came in had stories to share where these skills would have helped. One parent shared with us that just a few weeks prior, their own child had been choking and they figured out what to do without having any previous CPR/choking training. Luckily, they were able to save their child. However, after teaching the parents how to do CPR/choking they seemed calmer about the situation. We were able to provide them with the skills to use if this type of situation were to happen again.
Overall, we are so grateful to have come out to Pine Ridge and help. We will never forget this trip and many of us will be back to help in the future. But for now, Pine Ridge, we will see you later.
My First Experience
by Joanne Morgan
Health Science Academy Team
My first trip to the reservation I was amazed by the beauty of the Lakota Culture. I realized how difficult it is to look from their eyes. Stuck in promises from the past and an unclear path to the future there are many hardships the children experience. Even so, each day they greeted us with smiles and hugs and made us feel so welcome in the schools. I enjoyed watching the progress of our students, both High School and College, as they worked the first aid fairs and shared their knowledge with the Lakota children.
As a Science teacher I was saddened by the state of the science room at one school where my colleague was teaching during our time there. The room had very few supplies and even less equipment. There was no longer a regular science teacher but instead a regular substitute. There should not be a difference in education for Native American students, and I am sure the reasons are complex but this is just not OK. We do have the ability to educate within cultural constraints. I spoke with some seniors about graduation and realized that plans for the future is not really something they think about. Many I spoke with weren’t graduating, one was looking at the possibility of college and one was working on finding a job. I just kept thinking, what is it they are supposed to be looking forward to? With the high unemployment rate, what is it they should be planning for? It is that difference in culture that prevents me from really understanding this.
I am very thankful that this partnership exists and grateful for a better understanding of the scope of my privilege. I believe that it is the contacts, the friendships that breakdown the barriers that prevent us from embracing one another.